Strength vs Endurance – Which Is Better?

Ok taking a break from the nutrition and supplements to give you some free advice on your workouts.

I am not sure if you’ve noticed how the exercise prescription keeps evolving but it kinda parallels the drug recommendations e.g. more and more and more!

The current recommendation is for 50 minutes 5 X a week which effectively puts it out of the range of most of the population! Not to say that this recommendation is not to be followed if possible, but I can tell you that unless you are retired its not going to be easy for you to do this.

This recommendation also does not take into account recovery factors. If you are 80 and walking at 2 miles per hour for an hour is enough to get your heart rate to 70+ % of where it should be, the wear and tear on your body is going to be a lot less than if you are 35 and need to run 7 miles an hour for an hour.

While its safe to say at 80 your recovery demands are going to still be there its quite different from the joint trauma point of view.

What happens if you do 2 really hard workouts a week for strength and 2 for endurance- does that count?!

The answer is yes it does.

As a matter of fact rather than slavishly following the popular 10,000 steps a day rule, the arbitrary but popular recommendation of several internet gurus I would suggest you monitor your performance. If you are slowly but surely improving in your capacity to exercise- both in strength and endurance, you get “credit” and it counts!

Now, a lot of people ask about the so called “strength endurance” routines which often breaks down into some kind of circuit exercise ala PX 90, Ruthless etc etc.

I think these are great compromises and work well if weight loss is your main goal. I love the motion and movement based activities and the potential stretch benefits they give. Since we move as beings these strike me as a nice natural compromise.

But understand you will get neither as strong nor as cardiovascularly fit as with dedicated workouts.

In spite of what some of the still circulating literature suggests, you will not run faster 10K’s than 10 K runners who train in that distance by doing a circuit for 6 weeks.

You may look better and feel better than those very same runners but trust me you will not be running faster than they are or even than you would if you trained for this type of thing.

So once again it all boils down to my now famous “It Depends” answer to the what is the best form of exercise.

We should add “for you” at the end of the sentence. Train for what YOU want!

There is no question in my mind that strength and flexibility is the most useful thing for us as we age.

I cannot help but think of my friend and mentor Matt Furey at www.mattfurey.com.

Well into his 50’s Matt remains fast powerful and flexible and of course youthful. Combat Conditioning for instance is NOT yesterday’s news even though its over 10 years old now. This type of exercise will spank you if you are not prepared for it. If you haven’t seen what Matt is up to these days go have a look.

I will also mention to you that I am working on some specific programs with my friend and strength master Kyle Newell so stay tuned for a January launch date on that.

In the meantime remember: your body will adapt to what you give it in graduated routine fashion.

Lately I have been running longer and longer distances again with an eye towards another Canadian Death Race when I turn 60 soon. This time around I have given myself several years instead of a few months like I did when I turned 50!

That is the difference a decade can make and I respect and acknowledge the need for more recovery and better soft tissue management.

After all I want to be strong potent and still running at 90!

How about you?

Start with what you want from your body and if it’s a compromise, then that is fine. Just make a decision and stick to it until you feel your results are as good as you can get, then and only then should your change up your routine.

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